Food delivery across the United Kingdom has witnessed a massive surge with people resorting indoors at their homes during COVID-19 pandemic and ordering food from outside. Recently, Gousto, a start-up that developed its business specifically in meal-kits in the UK, announced funding to double down on its rapid growth.

The business Gousto, based in London, has closed £33 million ($41 million) in funding. The money would be used to invest in its technology, both in the AI engine and in the backend. The AI engine delivers personalized recommendations and information to customers about what to cook and eat, and the backend tech optimizes the logistics and related operations to meet the rise in demands and expanding delivery in the future.

Gousto says it is currently delivering some 4 million meals across 380,000 UK households each month and is aiming to cross 400 million meal deliveries by the year 2025. The service offers a choice of more than 50 recipes every week to its customers, and the customers get the option to tailor what they get on their deliveries. The funding of the business was raised before Coronavirus pandemic hit and is being led by Perwyn, with participation from BGF Ventures,  MMC Ventures, and Joe Wicks. This brings the total funding raised by Gousto to around £130 million ($162 million). The start-up currently has 100 employees and plans to increase that number to 700 by the year 2022.

UK Meal-Kit Service Gousto

According to CTO  Shaun Pearce, Gousto was on a great ride before the COVID pandemic, operating on annual forecasts of growing 70% each year. This number has only spiked in the recent weeks, with orders rising sharply; and not just from paying customers but also for Gousto’s own efforts to do something for the relief efforts.

Timo Boldt, CEO, and founder of Gousto, stated, “We continue to be laser-focused on our vision to become the UK’s most-loved way to eat dinner. This additional investment is not only a validation of our track record, but it is also an endorsement of our strategic vision of the future, which is rooted in investing in innovative technology to transform the way we search for, shop for, and cook our food. In these challenging times, we want to continue offering people more choices and especially more convenience. We will maintain our close relationships with the government and other charitable partners to ensure those already struggling don’t see their situation worsen.”

Pearce said in the last few weeks, Gousto has witnessed significant changes in customer behavior from pre-existing customers, with a 28% increase in demand for family boxes. “Those who buy from us want to buy more,” he said. Additionally, Gousto has also made efforts to contribute to the relief operations. It has effectively collaborated with UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs to produce meal kits for vulnerable people. It has donated some 6,000 meals to The Trussell Trust foodbank network and the homeless charity, Shelter. The company is also making sure that when its system is overcrowded, the NHS employees get priority access to its ordering platform. The volunteer work of Gousto also extends to employees who are volunteering to fulfill these extra meals.

Pearce said that the growth, popularity, and flexibility that Gousto offers users through its AI engine to craft recipes set the company apart from the current competition in the market. In the UK, the competition to Gousto includes HelloFresh,  Mindful Chef, offerings from most major grocers, and many more.

Andrew Wynn, founder, and managing partner at Perwyn, stated, “We continue to be impressed by Gousto and its dedication to its customers. The business has adapted quickly to continue providing an essential service to so many. This reaffirms the decision we took far before COVID-19, that we’re investing in the right people and a business set for even greater success.”